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Karua: My agents were locked out of polling stations

By Munene Kamau | May 4th 2018 | 3 min read
Narc-Kenya Leader Martha Karua explaining evidence in court over Governor Anne Waiguru's alleged unfair win during the August 8 Kirinyaga gubernatorial elections. [Munene Kamau/Standard]

Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua yesterday told a court that her agents were barred from 61 polling stations in Mwea constituency.

Ms Karua is seeking the nullification of Governor Anne Waiguru’s victory in the August 2017 polls.

The Court of Appeal allowed Karua’s petition to be reinstated, overruling an earlier decision by the High Court in Kerugoya to dismiss it.

In her 71-page affidavit, Karua argues that massive and rampant irregularities gave Waiguru an unfair win against her.

Karua said in other stations, her agents were allowed in seven hours after polling started, thereby denying them the opportunity to verify if the ballot boxes used were empty or stuffed before the voting began.

She told the election petition court that her competitors’ agents were at the polling stations by 5.30am - way ahead of the presiding officers.

“I started receiving phone calls from as early as 6.30am from my agents, informing me that they were being denied access to the polling stations our party had assigned them and followed the matter personally to ascertain it was true,” she told the court.

The petitioner said most of the presiding officers rejected her agents’ mandatory and duly signed documents, including national identity cards, oath of secrecy forms and letters of appointment signed by the party secretary general.

“Since there was a well calculated move to lock my agents out of the polling stations, it would not have been possible for them to verify if the ballot boxes were empty before the poling started, the number of ballot papers, or to witness the sealing of ballot boxes, counting and announcement of the votes,” she testified.

Broken seals

Karua also told the court how she confronted the Mwea constituency Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Returning Officer Julius Maingi, demanding to know why he was seen in the company of Ms Waiguru’s running mate, Peter Ndambiri.

The officer denied ever meeting Mr Ndambiri.

“But on insisting, Maingi confessed having been in the company of my competitor but quickly pointed out it was just a casual engagement,” she told the court.

Karua, who was led through her testimony by her lawyer, CN Kihara, told the court the worst poll irregularities and illegalities occurred at Ciagini Primary School polling station, where her agents were completely locked out.

She told the court that another violation took place outside the Wang’uru tallying centre.

She claimed that Angela Wanjiru Maina, the presiding officer at Ciagini, broke the seals for a ballot box intentionally.

“On confronting her, Wanjiru claimed she tampered with the box out of ignorance, but I have a witness who will testify against this particular officer to prove the many violations, irregularities and illegalities that took place on the voting day, which made the outcome unfairly favour Waiguru,” she testified.

Karua has 14 witnesses lined up.

She got a second chance to challenge Waiguru’s poll victory following a ruling by appellate judges Mohamed Warsame, Daniel Musinga and Willima Ouko, who reinstated the petition after it was thrown out by Justice Lucy Gitari at the preliminary stage.

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